The Cubs 2015 pitching staff will be remembered by the season turned in by Jake Arrieta. And his historic second half alone should make him the fifth Cy Young award winner in franchise history.
Jake Arrieta dominated after the break like no other starting pitcher the game has ever seen. Arrieta was 12-1 in 15 starts with a 0.75 ERA and 0.73 WHIP. He allowed 12 runs, nine earned, on 55 hits with 23 walks and 113 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings.
Jake Arrieta pitched his first no-hitter, became the Cubs’ first 20-game winner in 14 years and finished the season 22-6 in 33 starts with a 1.77 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 2.35 FIP. Arrieta gave up 52 runs, 45 earned, on 150 hits with 48 walks and 236 strikeouts in 229 innings.
For the year, the Cubs’ staff finished among the leaders in many categories.
The Cubs led all of baseball in strikeouts (1,431) and walked the fifth fewest batters (407) in the game. Only the Blue Jays (397), Dodgers (395), Mets (383) and Nationals (364) issued less base on balls.
The Cubs had the third lowest ERA (3.36) in the National League and were tops in WHIP (1.15), fifth in innings pitched (1,461.1) while giving up less hits (1276) than any other team in the Senior Circuit. Opponents hit a league low .233 against the Cubs’ pitchers and the staff had the NL’s best OBP (.290) and OPS (.662) against while tying the Dodgers for the third lowest slugging percentage (.372).
Ten different pitchers started a game for the Cubs in 2015. Jon Lester, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel each made 30-plus starts and did not spend a day on the DL, although it appears Hammel and the Cubs might have benefited by placing him on the disabled list in July. Injuries and poor performance limited the Cubs’ options beyond Hammel and the team made the decision to stick with him instead of going in a different direction for a few weeks.
The Cubs became the first team in the history of the game to have four pitchers with 160-plus strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks … Jon Lester (207/47), Jake Arrieta (236/48), Jason Hammel (172/40) and Kyle Hendricks (167/43).
The Cubs’ bullpen ended the season fourth in ERA (3.38), fourth in WHIP (1.23), fifth in strikeouts (511), tied for eighth in walks allowed (183), tied for ninth in hits allowed (450), tenth in home runs (42), tied for second in batting average against (.234), third in OBP (.303), fifth in slugging (.366) and third in OPS (.669).
Hector Rondon started the season as the Cubs closer, lost his job and earned it back. Rondon saved 30 games and was one of six pitchers to save at least one game for the Cubs in 2015.
Counting David Ross and Chris Denorfia, the Cubs used 29 different pitchers over the course of 162 games.
2015 Team Leaders – Pitching
- Wins: Jake Arrieta – 22
- Losses: Jon Lester – 12
- ERA: Jake Arrieta – 1.77; Hector Rondon – 1.67
- WHIP: Jake Arrieta – 0.87
- Games: Pedro Strop – 76
- Games Started: Jake Arrieta – 33; Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks – 32
- Complete Games: Jake Arrieta – 4
- Shutouts: Jake Arrieta – 3
- Saves: Hector Rondon – 30
- Games Finished: Hector Rondon – 47
- Holds: Pedro Strop – 28
- Innings Pitched (IP): Jake Arrieta – 229
- Hits: Jon Lester – 183
- Home Runs: Jason Hammel – 23
- Runs: Jon Lester – 83
- Earned Runs: Kyle Hendricks – 79
- Strikeouts: Jake Arrieta – 236
- Strikeouts per Nine (K/9): Justin Grimm – 12.14
- Walks: Jake Arrieta – 48
- Walks per Nine (BB/9): Clayton Richard – 1.49; Jake Arrieta – 1.89
- Batting Average Against: Pedro Strop – .167
- On-Base Percentage Against (OBP): Jake Arrieta – .236
- Slugging Percentage Against (SLG): Pedro Strop – .270; Jake Arrieta – .271
- On-Base Plus Slugging Against (OPS): Jake Arrieta – .507; Pedro Strop – .538
- Hits per Nine (H/9): Pedro Strop – 5.16; Jake Arrieta – 5.90
- Pitches Thrown: Jake Arrieta – 3,438
- Pitches per Inning Pitched (P/IP): Clayton Richard – 14.53; Jake Arrieta – 15.01; Dan Haren – 15.19
When looking back at the Cubs’ staff, Joe Maddon and Chris Bosio were able to get a lot out of the pitchers they were given. By the end of the season, eight pitchers that appeared in games for the Cubs were no longer in the organization. And nine pitchers that were with the team on Opening Night were on the expanded active roster for the final game of the regular season.